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Papercentric features artworks that explore the creative potential of paper. Paper is most often used as a support for another material such as ink or pigment, but the works in this exhibition feature paper as the primary artistic medium. Some works incorporate found paper, others involve folding and cutting, and some utilize paper as a sculptural material in different ways.

Paper made from plant based pulp first emerged in China around 100 CE. Today, we are surrounded by paper in many forms, yet it wasn’t until the 19th century that machine-milled paper made the material more easily available. Prior to that, all paper was handmade and much less common. Handmade paper saw a revival in the United States in the 1970s when artists were pushing the boundary between craft and fine art. Since that time, artists have continued to expand on folk and craft traditions, creating works that elevate paper above its humble status as a commonplace commodity. Works in Papercentric emphasize the simplicity, flexibility, strength, and fragility of paper and honor the material as a medium in its own right.

Catalina Delgado-Trunk’s papel picado works continue a long tradition dating back to pre-Spanish-conquest of Maya and Otomi peoples who made paper from bark and cut out elaborate designs. Delgado-Trunk continues the tradition to visually describe the history and myths of Mexico. Other works in this exhibition are more abstract, and some connect to the natural world. Sammy Vigil’s folded paper cross is an example of one type of art made by incarcerated individuals with limited access to supplies. Each of the works in Papercentric transform an accessible material into a unique expression.

Papercentric is on view at the Albuquerque Museum in the Works on Paper Gallery March 5 - August 28, 2022.